It may not be the sportiest model in the Chevrolet lineup, but if you’re looking for something to pull duty as family transportation that also has the curb appeal for a night on the town, the Chevrolet Equinox is right up your alley.
Since its introduction in 2004, this popular crossover has been lauded for its spacious interior, efficiency and convenience. For its size and utility, it also gets exceptional fuel economy, especially when equipped with a four-cylinder engine. Move up to the available six cylinder, however, and those numbers start to slip a little.
Still, the Chevrolet Equinox offers a great value, and a relatively low cost of ownership, making it an ideal vehicle for family-oriented transportation, especially if you’re on a budget.
One of the factors contributing to this crossover’s low cost of ownership is its maintenance and attractive warranty. Chevrolet supports Equinox owners with two years/24,000 miles of scheduled maintenance, which covers four services of an oil change, tire rotation and 27-point inspection. It complements the three-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper limited vehicle warranty and five-year/100,000-mile powertrain limited warranty for peace of mind.
The Chevrolet Equinox rolls into the 2015 model year with new connectivity features that help drivers maintain their active lifestyles, including OnStar with 4G LTE and standard built-in Wi-Fi hotspot. It provides a mobile hub for drivers and passengers to stay connected. The hotspot is on whenever the car is on and comes with a three-month/three-gigabyte data trial.
Advanced safety features, including forward collision alert and lane departure warning, are available and contribute to Equinox’s comprehensive passenger protection features. In fact, they helped Equinox earn a coveted Top Safety Pick+ recommendation from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, receiving a Good rating in the Institute’s small overlap front crash test.
The 2015 Equinox seats five, and is offered in LS, 1LT, 2LT and LTZ models, with available all-wheel drive. Its roomy interior offers ample headroom and cargo space of 31.4 cubic feet behind the rear seat that expands to 63.7 cubic feet with the rear seat folded down.
Under the hood, you’ll find the standard 2.4-liter Ecotec engine. On the front-wheel drive version, this fuel sipper gets a very impressive 32 miles per gallon on the highway. Opt for the all-wheel drive, which is a definite plus for Western Pennsylvania winters, and the fuel economy only drops down to 29 miles per gallon—still very respectable.
The four-cylinder puts out 182 horsepower, which delivers a zero to 60 miles an hour time north of nine seconds, which is fine for most drivers. If you’d like a little more power, opt for the available 3.6-liter V6, which puts out 301 horsepower. However, you will sacrifice a little at the pump, with the larger powerplant achieving 24 miles per gallon on the highway for the front-wheel drive and 23 miles per gallon on the highway for the more practical all-wheel drive.
An efficient six-speed automatic transmission is standard on all models.
Inside, the Equinox is designed for comfort, convenience and versatility. While some of the materials may seem a little Spartan on the lower level trims, the overall cabin design affords a great deal of comfort and quiet. Noise-absorbing elements in the chassis, engine compartment, interior and windshield glass make the cabin one of the quietest in the segment.
In terms of passenger versatility, the rear seat slides nearly eight inches fore and aft, offering adult passengers a little more legroom, while placing children a little closer so they can hear what you’re saying upfront.
In addition to its new 4G LTE Connectivity, the Equinox also offers a surprising amount of on-board technology, including OnStar Directions and Connections for six months, which includes all of OnStar’s advisor-based safety and security features, including Automatic Crash Response and Stolen Vehicle Assistance, as well as Turn-by-Turn navigation.
Five years of the OnStar Basic Plan includes RemoteLink Key Fob Services, allowing owners to remotely start and lock/unlock a car when properly equipped. This can be especially useful on those cold winter mornings.
The service also includes OnStar Vehicle Diagnostics, which runs monthly checks of a vehicle’s engine, transmission, anti-lock brakes and more, and Dealer Maintenance Notification, which sends a diagnostic report directly to a preferred dealer to simplify service scheduling.
There are some practical storage and convenience features, as well, including several well placed storage bins, an oversized glove box, a closed storage bin under the center armrest big enough to accommodate a laptop computer, four 12-volt power outlets and eight cup and bottle holders.
The Chevrolet Equinox is still one of the best values on the market, made better in 2015 with the enhancement of much-improved onboard connectivity. If you need family transportation, or additional cargo space for an active lifestyle, the Equinox offers a very reliable, safe and affordable transportation choice.